Saturday, February 25, 2006

A bit of brutal honesty.... Are you ready?

Thinking that I have made a decision, I again find myself at a crossroads. I say this in reference to my belief that I should be headed off to seminary in the Fall of 2006, but doubting that now is the time for me to do so. Previous changes in my life have been borne of the necessity that I come to grips with the negative realities of my current situation and do what I can to change where I am and what I am doing.

I have made many changes of direction in my journey through life. I have decided to move far away from home for college to separate myself from an unhealthy High School & church environment. I transferred colleges to escape paying increased tuition (even though I loved Southwestern University). I left the Pentecostal church (and the UPC specifically) to pursue & live out a more balanced, Jesus-centered, and holistic expression of the Gospel. In all of these, I have made the necessary adaptations and shifts in my life in order to better my life and to better my interactions with the world around me.

So, why do I feel conflicted about choosing between The Harvest (or teaching at a Waldorf school in general) and attending seminary for 2 or 3 years so that I can serve the Kingdom of God "better"? I have a friend who has told me that you go to seminary for yourself, so that you can learn more ans expand who you are. I believe this friend, because they attended seminary for that reason, a reason I can respect. And, yes, while the goal is to preach, teach, and become a full-time minister of the Gospel, it seems the means of such an endeavor consist of taking what classes you'd like to tak so that your intellect & spirit can be fed in order for you to be able to feed others. I can both appreciate and respect that approach, but part of that type of thinking doesn't quite agree with me, especially in regards to the efficiency of such a method, as well as the economic baggage that such a decision entails.

This then makes me wonder why another friend of mine chose 5 years of seminary training if, in the long run, he knew that he'd be pastoring/leading a small start-up church in Austin, TX. In fact, he's going for his D.Min degree very soon. Is it because he's "wired" that way? Maybe so. I feel that I cam wired for higher education, but at whose/what expense? This same friend and his wife (also my friend) both entered seminary right out of college, as did yet another close friend of mine (who is now pursuing a PhD in History). In contrast, I have 2 other friends who didn't start graduate school/seminary right out of college, but are enrolled now and seem equally as challenged and excited about their education as my friends who did enter higher education right out of college.

But this is my question and the internal dialogue I have going on right now. Why do I feel so stuck in between those two situations? Why do I feel that I still want to seek out a Third Way? Why do I think that a Third Way even exists? How is it that I have somehow chosed to believe that I am so different from my friends and their situations that I can attempt to walk down a totally divergent path from theirs and still arrive at a relatively similar place as both educated and educator?

Such questions bring me to how I have come to view my continuing and perpetual education. I have felt a call/pull/tug to be educated and to educate others for much of my adult life. Yet, I have pursued such an end through rather unorthodox means. I didn't study education in college. I've taught exclusively at private schools, having been employed and utilized strictly due to my intrinsic talents and abilities. I frequently find ways to cease and hinder restarting many of my forays into higher education. Thus, even now, I try to convince myself that seminary isn't important for me, that I don't need to rack up enormous debt in order to feel like my life is of worth, consequence, and able to impact some small corner of this wonderful, beautiful, and broken world that we all share.

My my -- doesn't that last sentence sound vain and prideful? It's as if I'm trying to create some sort of legact for myself. However, I really don't feel that I'm worried about the future. I tend to focus on doing something today and how what we do in the present will impact the future. Hence, this IS my problem -- I don't want to put the "real world" on hold just to intellectually masturbate for 2 or more years in an attempt to "better" serve God, to "better" live out the Gospel, or to "better" lead/pastor the people in the world around me. Now, THAT is selfish & vain....

Thus, if I'm bold enough to say that, think that, and just about believe that, why do I feel like seminary should be and is an option for me?!?!?

And this brings me to my current status as a teacher at a Waldorf school. I love what I'm doing, really. This has been one of the best jobs and work environments that I've ever had, on so many levels. The pedagogy is enthralling, enough for me to state openly that I wish I could have been a student at a Waldorf school as a child/teen. The mixture of, appreciation for, and attention paid to the balance between our physical, intellectual, and emotional selves (willing, thinking, and feeling) is so very needed in the educational circles of the world today, especially in the West/America. My issue at this point is that I don't want to be in Houston for the next 9 years at The Harvest (maybe this is the 27-year-old in me talking). I would love to train as a Waldorf Grades Teacher, but again, there is cost involved in that, combined with my desire to be a speciality teacher or High School subject teacher.

What I do with all of these thoughts raging and thrashing about in my psyche? I can't ignore them. I can't explain them away. I have to address what I'm thinking and feeling, or I think I'd go quite crazy. Regardless of that, I know that much of this sounds plaintive and almost idealistically naive, but can you blame me? Maybe you can. If so, set me straight. I'd love to hear/read your words, thoughts, feelings, and impressions of what I've written here.

So, I end with a prayer -- "Where do I go? What do I do? I pray, O God, that you send something or someone to help me with this, so that I don't feel quite so all alone. And, in case I haven't said enough, I want to thank you for everything so far. I love you because you first loved me."

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